Tony Robbins says, “People will do more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure.”
Dan Kennedy says the most reliable approach to selling is to generate some pain in the potential customer: “…This is where the marketer’s greatest opportunity lies: exploiting others’ quiet (suppressed) desperation; their private pain. You see, most people do not like their jobs, their relationships, their lives or even themselves. The savvy marketer understands this and is willing to peel back a scab and rub salt in it to motivate someone to action.”
Seth Godin’s Purple Cow Redux marketing strategy does the same thing–creates a little pain in the reader: “If this were actually milk, it would be pasteurized and homogenized. Pasteurized involves heating it up to kill any new organisms inside, while homogenization involves mixing it to make it all the same. If this sounds like your organization, perhaps you need this book.”
I am obviously not a savvy marketer. When I talk to people about my web design business, or other endeavors I’m taking on, I try to get people excited about what I offer. I try to go from the pleasure side. “Look how you’ll benefit by …”.
Honestly, it doesn’t work very well.
I’ve paid attention to what Tony Robbins says. I know that I’m more likely to achieve results if I associate a lot of pain to the behavior I’m wanting to change. But I missed the connection from a marketing view.
Kennedy continues, “…This is where the marketer’s greatest opportunity lies: exploiting others’ quiet (suppressed) desperation; their private pain. You see, most people do not like their jobs, their relationships, their lives or even themselves. The savvy marketer understands this and is willing to peel back a scab and rub salt in it to motivate someone to action.”
This goes against my grain. I don’t feel comfortable causing people pain intentionally, even if I have the cure.
On the other hand, I know that few people focus on what they want, even if it’s pleasurable. Most of their time is spent focusing on what they don’t want. Kennedy reminded me of this:
It’s worth noting, by the way, that very few people can clearly describe what they want – which, incidentally, is why they don’t get it – but most people know what they don’t want. Rubbing their noses in what they have that they dislike is much more effective than holding a carrot out in front of them. You must make people feel miserable before you can liberate them. Whether selling a kitchen appliance or an annuity, selling to mom at home or the CEO in the tower, you must create despair to ready the person for your solution.
So the question is, “Do I do what works, modifying my own pain/pleasure rules to accommodate that, or do I continue to fail in my marketing efforts?”
I know what the answer is. But still, I resist.